How can Katy Perry help us to write about poetry?

I’m not sure I always taught analytical writing well earlier in my teaching career. For me, like many, the PEE paragraph was a formula to get students through coursework essays and to use as a model for exam-style responses.

Maybe we should teach analysis as being about writing (just as much as reading) so we can avoid those formulaic, PEE-paragraph based responses we know all too well.

I wanted to encourage my Year Eleven class to write analytically about something either media-based or a ‘text’ from popular culture, in order to free them, initially, from the restraints of working with a printed text. I chose Katy Perry’s ‘California Gurls’. We began in class to watch the video, making notes and exploring screenshots (attached). We considered what the video was aiming to achieve and how media language had been appropriated to this end. I then modelled the writing of a piece of more informal analytical writing which eventually took the shape of a media-style review (attached). Students went on to explore and write about a ‘text’ of their own choosing.

We have followed this up by looking at how we can apply what we’ve learned to poetry.

Featured image: chuffmedia